Will a robot vacuum fall from the stairs?

Will a robot vacuum fall down from the stairs

A friend of mine asked me: will a robot vacuum fall from the stairs? I get that it’s scary to see your brand-new robot vacuum getting smashed down the stairs because you weren’t careful enough.

Or perhaps you are wondering this because you are thinking about getting one and your house could be a death trap for this little robot.

No matter the reasons, I’ve decided to gather cool data for you guys in this blog post to help you on your automation journey.

From the basic models up to the premium ones, the majority of the robot vacuums that are in the market have a sensor below its body to detect drops. It works as a preventive mechanism to avoid the robot vacuum falling from any kind of uneven surface.

From a personal perspective and I could dare that some of you agree with me

That it has to be a model that will fall down the stairs right?

Let’s find out what is it and which models don’t.

Any Robot Vacuum can fall down the stairs… without proper cleaning

There are so many cool models for robot vacuums in the market right now

Roomba for example, in my opinion, are the ones worth sharing if we talk about the best features.

If you haven’t dig enough in this world, Roomba pretty much owns it.

Right now, their flagship model is the i9+

It comes with a self-dischargeable bin that allows the device to hold dirt for around three months in a row!

It has machine learning developed in MIT (in case you haven’t heard, that’s the best engineering college in the U.S)

And so many features that are impossible not to take a look at it!

But if you don’t take good care of it, at some point the drop sensor will clog and your super-smart robot will fall inevitably to its dead.

If your stairs have carpet there’s a good chance that it survives

But if it’s a hardwood floor, for example, it will shatter for sure.

Just make sure the sensor is clean every six months at least.

Here’s a simple step tutorial where you can learn this easily!

Save some couple hundred dollars cleaning once in a while and you’ll be good to go!

There’s a cool trick that I’ve tried

To clean the drop sensors, unscrew all of the screws along with the crescent-shaped bump plate, gently pull the bump plate away from the robot vacuum, (there is a short wire still attached that you don’t need to disconnect), and apply compressed air into the small holes in the tops of the drop sensors.

It does not work very well but it got my Roomba partially working again.

Now, if the video and the trick that I showed before didn’t work either, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Because you’re going to have to disassemble the cliff sensors to clean them better!

This process varies a lot from one robot vacuum to another and if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing be careful.

So if you choose a Roomba, for example, the process can be a little tricky.

And to be 100% honest with you, some things are easier to digest with a video instead of a step-by-step process

Please check this video where I share with you how Dennis did it by himself:

Be aware that if you own a robot vacuum for a long time without being clean is going to fall down the stairs regardless of the model.

When you do the maintenance of the device, make sure your little friend is super clean!

Otherwise is going to fall miserably.

Blocking the drop-off sensors

There are scenarios where this could happen

If your robot vacuum is getting closer to the stairs and there’s something like a toy or any kind of device on the step below

It could trick the robot into falling!

Because the drop-off sensor is going to be detecting a constant reading of the floor but it’s false.

Another possible obstruction could be a loosened carpet.

If the stairs are a little bit old, it could get loose and create a barrier for the drop-off sensor.

As soon the robot vacuum is cleaning the edge and it feels that there’s more room to clean

It will do it for sure.

Especially the ones that do not have mapping.

In case you don’t know, mapping it’s a cool technology that premium robot vacuums have to create a layout of your house inside its brain.

It’s super handy because cleaning is faster and you won’t see your robot vacuum hitting the walls like a dumb robot.

At the moment, one of the best robot vacuums that create a super accurate map of your home is the roborock S6

Compared to any other, is the fastest and the most efficient. Roombas need to step up if they want to match this technology.

But if you own a robot vacuum with this technology, the odds that it will fall down the stairs are bigger.

How to avoid your robot vacuum fall down the stairs

Now, this is a question that can be a little tricky because there are so many different models of robot vacuum that the best answer would be: it depends.

It depends if your stairs have carpet on it, or if they are made of wood, etc.

And off course, the type of robot vacuum

But as a general rule, you would first need to keep your robot vacuum neat.

As you may know, the device below has lots of brushes that are constantly rotating.

If you let too many hairs get inside of it, your robot vacuum could get trapped on a bolt and it will catapult right to the first floor.

Secondly, the cliff sensors as Roomba call them.

When your device is brand new, you won’t experience these problems, but after six months or even a year

It could be a problem

These sensors get dirty for tons of reasons.

If by accident you spilled some juice and the vacuum cleaned it, it will cover the glass with a sticky layer.

And once it goes to the stairs, you’re going to see it flying!

Above this tips, I posted two videos where you can see how you clean the cliff sensors of Roomba vacuum

I know, there are a lot of different models to choose from but I think all of them were reverse engineered to try to copy them. See how I get carried away by engineering?

Using your robot vacuum on two floors

When I started checking robot vacuums for my house, I thought I could clean my two floors with it.

It was just a matter of putting it on the second floor and letting it do its job.

But I ended up getting the premium model with a self-discharging bin that made my dream go away.

Because I’m not moving everything up a down every time I want to clean right?

That’s when I realized that a cheaper model would to the trick better.

I got the Ozmo 950 to my second floor and the problem was solved


Because you can’t have only one robot vacuum at home to clean both floors!

You may think: I’m gonna put it downstairs and let it do its job.

But at least for me, it’s not cost-efficient.

I got a robot vacuum because I wanted to automate my floor cleaning without any human intervention

I have a schedule that every time I leave my house my robot vacuum cleans the floor. If I have to put it downstairs, it’s not automated in my opinion!

So No, you can’t use a robot vacuum on two floors. Maybe in the future, we will see a flying model!

Nelson Barbosa

I'm an engineer in love with smart home tech. On my website, I share useful tips and tricks to help my readers get the most of their devices and make their lives simpler by adding just a drop of technology in everyday routines!

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